It like it was just yesterday when we heard the news that billionaire rapper Kanye West was going to run for the United States Presidency. And in fact, it hasn’t been much longer than that. But nearly as soon as this all started, rumors began flying in that he was out. But is he really?
It was only about two weeks ago that the famous musician tweeted out for all the world to see that he would be making a play for the Oval Office, running as an Independent against both Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
His Fourth of July announcement said, “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States! #2020VISION”
It was hard for many to gauge whether this was actually something the hip-hop star and fashion mogul would really do.
First of all, the act of getting your name onto a ballot, especially this late in the game, can be a difficult task, if not impossible.
You see, it isn’t as though Kanye just needs to get his name on one ballot. Instead, he needs it on 50. Presidential elections in the United States work by each stating voting on their preferred candidate, first for each party, and then in a general election with all parties included.
This means that Kanye needs to get his name on as many state ballots as possible before November to have any real shot at winning or even making himself look like a serious candidate.
However, there are deadlines for such in each state. And unfortunately, in some states, such as the New Mexico and North Carolina, as well as crucial battleground states like Florida, Michigan, Georgia, and Ohio have already passed. And others are coming up rather quickly, such as Maine, New Jersey, Missouri, and Illinois.
And merely filing the right paperwork on time, isn’t all that the process entails. In addition, West will need to make the required entrance fee for each state, as well as get the approved number of supportive signatures from congressional members or voters.
So far, Kanye has succeeded in getting his name on only Oklahoma’s ballot, which demanded a $35,000 fee and whose deadline was July 15, 2020.
Then there is the fact that he still needs to register with the Federal Election Commission and present an acceptable campaign platform.
Now according to several sources, he has been working on getting these things done, but as we all know, November is a mere four months away, leaving him very little time.
In addition, TMZ reported that some who are close to West, as well as members of his family, had fears that this could be another one of his manic episodes, as the rapper has been diagnosed as bipolar. The Intelligencer also reported rumors that West and his presidential bid were over.
According to the outlet, “get-out-the-vote specialist,” Steve Kramer said West was “out.” Another Intelligencer operative, Ben Jacobs, claimed he reached out to West’s publicist for comments and progress on the campaign but said the entire team had rather suddenly “went dark.”
But on Thursday, July 16, 2020, it was announced that Kanye had been officially added to Oklahoma state ballot after getting his paperwork finally finished just in time for the Wednesday deadline.
This would seem to imply that the Yeezy founder is, in fact, very much still in the race. Or at least he is trying to be.
But the cards indeed appear to be stacked against him.
As Lara Brown, the director of the elections research center at the University of Wisconsin noted, running as an independent alone, ensures “no chance to win,” as the United States has never elected an Independent president.
Michael Starr Hopkins, a political strategist who worked for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, said that West’s decision to run was “completely irresponsible,” noting that it was essentially a waste of time and one that would hurt neither major party candidate.
Some have suggested that with Kanye in the running, Biden may lose much of the black support he has gained over the last year. But Hopkins says that this is highly unlikely.
Whether he is actually still in the race and takes this seriously has remained to be seen. But one thing’s for sure; things definitely don’t look too good.